Prevention and early intervention to improve child well-being

This area of work is about how to improve child psychosocial outcomes through evidence-based prevention and early intervention, with an emphasis on developing or adapting interventions and evaluating their effectiveness and implementation. It makes use of a variety of methods, such as evidence reviews, mixed methods randomised controlled trials, process evaluations and rapid cycle testing, and spans a range of subject areas, including anti-social behaviour, bullying, child maltreatment, early childhood development and social-emotional learning. A particular interest is how to achieve impact at scale, hence the focus on (1) innovations in how interventions are developed are tested and (2) knowledge mobilisation.

Projects

ADAPT – the rapid cycle testing of adaptations to the evidence-based Family Nurse Partnership home visiting programme for young mothers.

Chance UK adaptation – the co-design and rapid cycle testing of adaptations to a mentoring programme for children with behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Early Learning Communities – the development of an evidence-based toolkit to guide system change in disadvantaged communities and thereby promote the early learning of children in poverty.

Working with parents to support children’s learning – the development of evidence-based guidance for early years settings and schools on how they can best support parents’ engagement in their children’s learning.

COVID-19 Learning Partnership – working with Youth Endowment Fund grantees to understand the impact of COVID-19 on young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime and the most effective approaches to engaging with vulnerable young people during the pandemic.

Looked after children Transition Hub – a feasibility study and pilot outcomes evaluation of an educational support intervention for young people in care who move placement or school.

Becoming a Man – a feasibility study and pilot outcomes evaluation of a group-based mentoring intervention for adolescent boys to prevent youth violence and promote educational outcomes.

Papers

2020

Axford, N., Berry, V., Lloyd, J., Hobbs, T., & Wyatt, K. (2020) Promoting learning from null or negative results in prevention science trials. Prevention Science, DOI.

Axford, N., Bjornstad, G., Matthews, J., Whybra, L., Berry, V., Ukoumunne, O., Hobbs, T., Wrigley, Z., Brook, L., Taylor, R., Eames, T., Kallitsoglou, A., Blower, S., & Warner, G. (2020) The effectiveness of a community-based mentoring program for children aged 5-11 years: results from a randomized controlled trial. Prevention Science, DOI.

Axford, N., Bjornstad, G., Matthews, J., Heilmann, S., Raja, A., Ukoumunne, O., Berry, V., Wilkinson, T., Timmons, L., Hobbs, T., Eames, T., Kallitsoglou, A., Blower, S., & Warner, G. (2020) The effectiveness of a therapeutic parenting program for children aged 6-11 years with behavioral or emotional difficulties: results from a randomised controlled trial. Children and Youth Services Review, DOI.

Axford, N., Bjornstad, G., Clarkson, S., Ukoumunne, O., Wrigley, Z., Matthews, J., Berry, V., & Hutchings, J. (2020) The effectiveness of the KiVa bullying prevention program in Wales, UK: results from a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Prevention Science, 21, 615-626.

Bjornstad, G. J., Sonthalia, S., Rouse, B., Timmons, L., Whybra, L., & Axford, N. (2020) PROTOCOL: A comparison of the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural interventions based on delivery features for elevated symptoms of depression in adolescents. Campbell Systematic Reviews 16, (1).

2019

Axford, N., Berry, V., Lloyd, J., Moore, D., Rogers, M., Hurst, A., Blockley, K., Durkin, H. and Minton, J. (2019) How Can Schools Support Parents’ Engagement in their Children’s Learning? Evidence from Research and Practice. London: Education Endowment Foundation.

Hobbs, T., Morpeth, L., Lowther, K., Green, F., Simpson, D. and Axford, N. (2019) Rapid Cycle Design and Testing: The What and the Why. Dartington: Dartington Service Design Lab.

Axford, N. and Albers, B. (2019) Improving the Early Learning Outcomes of Children from Socially Disadvantaged Backgrounds: A Rapid Review of the Evidence. London: Save the Children UK.

Barlow, J. and Axford, N. (2019) Tobacco, alcohol and substance use in the perinatal period. In Edmond, A. (Ed.) Health for All Children, 5th Edition. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 

Schrader-McMillan, A. and Axford, N. (2019) Intimate partner violence. In Edmond, A. et al (Ed.) Health for All Children, 5th Edition. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Glover, V., Reynolds, R., Barlow, J. and Axford, N. (2019) Perinatal parental mental health problems. In Edmond, A. (Ed.) Health for All Children, 5th Edition. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

2018

Axford, N. & Berry, V. (2018) Perfect bedfellows: why early intervention can play a critical role in protecting children – a response to Featherstone et al. (2014) ‘A marriage made in hell: child protection meets early intervention’. British Journal of Social Work 48 (1), 254-273.  

Axford, N., Lowther, K., Timmons, L., Brook, L., Webb, L., & Sonthalia, S. (2018) Rapid Review on Safeguarding to Inform the Healthy Child Programme 5-19. London: Public Health England.

Axford, N., Warner, G., Hobbs, T., Heilmann, S., Raja, A., Berry, V., Ukoumunne, O. C., Matthews, J., Eames, T., Kallitsoglou, A., Blower, S., Wilkinson, T., Timmons, L. & Bjornstad, G. (2018) The effectiveness of the Inspiring Futures parenting programme in improving behavioural and emotional outcomes in primary school children with behavioural or emotional difficulties: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Psychology 6:3.

Whybra, L., Warner, G., Bjornstad, G., Hobbs, T., Brook, L., Wrigley Z., Berry, V., Ukoumunne, O. C., Matthews, J., Taylor, R., Eames, T., Kallitsoglou, A., Blower, S. & Axford, N. (2018) The effectiveness of Chance UK’s mentoring programme in improving behavioural and emotional outcomes in primary school children with behavioural difficulties: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychology. Mar 12;6(1):9.

Axford, N., Whelan, S. & Hobbs, T. (2018) ‘Wrong’ Answer, Right Response: Learning from randomised controlled trials when you don’t get the results you were hoping for. Realising Ambition Programme Insight #11.

Van Poortlviet, M., Axford, N. and Lloyd, J. (2018) Working with Parents to Support Children’s Learning: Guidance Report. London: Education Endowment Foundation.

Axford, N., Lowther, K., Cuffe-Fuller, B., Rothman, R., Buckley, J., Cruise, K., Evans, C., Linton, E., Mackinnon, L., Porter, D., Wragg, C. and Wren, M. (2018) FNP ADAPT Key Documents. London: FNPNU.

Plymouth staff